Public Cervix Announcement
Here at Dandy, we’re passionate about women being properly informed about gynaecological health -because knowledge is power. Cervical cancer is the #1 form of cancer in women under 35 years old in the UK, and even though 99.6% of cervical cancers can be prevented by cervical screening, one in three women due for their cervical screening have not attended theirs. The leading reason they cite? Embarrassment.
As September is Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month, we're proud to have joined Luna Daily, Lady Garden, and a collective of leading brands to make a #PublicCervixAnnouncement to encourage us all to talk openly about the importance of women and people with a cervix attending their scheduled cervical screening appointment. The best part is that it’s absolutely free in the UK, thanks to the amazing NHS!
What is the cervix?
The cervix is part of the female reproductive system, which is also made up of the vagina, the womb (or uterus), the ovaries, and the fallopian tubes. Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix, which connects the womb and vagina. All women and people with a cervix in the UK aged 25 to 64 will be invited by letter to attend their free cervical smear test by the NHS, which can detect abnormal cells on the cervix. A cervical smear test, also known as a pap smear, is not a test for cancer: instead, it checks the health of the cells in the cervix and allows any abnormalities to be identified and treated at an early stage to prevent them developing into cancer.
What are the risks associated with the cervix?
Cervical cancer is commonly caused by a transmitted infection called human papillomavirus (HPV) which is transferred through skin-to-skin sexual contact, and common for nearly all women to come into contact with at some stage during their adult life. All girls aged 12 or 13 in the UK are routinely offered the HPV vaccine at school, which is a fantastic public health initiative because these vaccines protect against the strains of HPV that are most likely to cause cervical cancer.
The most common symptom of cervical cancer is vaginal bleeding at times other than when you are having a period, for example between periods, after or during sex, or at any time if you are post-menopausal. Some women also experience vaginal discharge with an unpleasant smell, and discomfort or pain during sex. But some symptoms of cervical cancer are not obvious, so it’s vital to get your cervical smear when you are due, as that’ll pick up on any abnormalities.
If you have any of the symptoms listed above, be sure to see your doctor – particularly if symptoms are not normal for you, or if they are persistent and repeated occasions. Most women with symptoms like these do not have cancer, but being aware of what the symptoms are means you’re more likely to spot if something’s amiss.
What is a cervical screening?
You can book in for your scheduled screening appointment just as you would for any other routine doctor’s appointment with your registered GP, and you can always ask if you’d prefer a female doctor when booking. The best time to have your appointment is mid cycle; around 14 days after your last menstrual period, and not during a period. During your appointment the doctor will ask you a few simple questions about your sexual health, current medications, and any symptoms. The actual screening happens when a small instrument called a speculum is inserted into the vagina, to allow the doctor to see your cervix and take the sample. It can be slightly uncomfortable, but not painful - and it only takes a few short minutes. The sample is then sent off to a lab and checked for certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) that can cause changes to the cells of your cervix and are sometimes linked to cervical cancer. These are called “high risk” types of HPV and your doctor will ask for a follow up appointment with information on treatments. If these types of HPV are not found, you do not need any further tests until your next scheduled screening. In most cases, you’ll get your results by letter, usually within 2 weeks of your appointment.
We empower you to take action:
If you are due for a screening, please book in and take time off to do so, as you don't need to use holiday allowance or personal leave. Educate yourself on gynae health and information about cervical cancer symptoms and screenings, and send this article to a friend or two! If you still have any other questions, you can also confidentially live chat to experts at www.luna-daily.com.
A test is very quick to book -it only takes five minutes- and quick to perform -usually ten minutes- but it can absolutely save lives, which we’re very passionate about. So please, check when you're due and book in if needed. No time to waste.
About Luna Daily
The Luna Daily is here to make products for and conversations about womanhood as natural as they should be for everyone, everywhere. Intimately connecting women of all ages, stages and skin types, The Luna Daily Collective wanted to create a campaign which was relatable to all women, irrespective of age or stage, to raise awareness around normalising topics which have for too long been taboo, and also to encourage women to start a conversation together. They’re on a mission to normalise conversation and work with leading experts in gynaecology to provide information.
About Lady Garden
Founded in 2014, The Lady Garden Foundation is a leading national women’s health charity, raising awareness and funding for gynaecological health. Lady Garden’s mission is to lead a revolution in women’s gynaecological health so that one day every woman will survive gynaecological cancer. Through leading nationwide education programs and awareness they want every woman to know the signs and symptoms of all five gynaecological cancers by 2030 and encourage more women to talk more often. Lady Garden’s impact to date includes £2.4m raised to support The Royal Marsden NHS trust, the oldest cancer hospital in the world which remains one of the largest cancer centres in Europe, with a truly global impact.